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Friday, August 2, 2013

Office Cultures Around The World

Office Cultures aound the world

Work cultures change dramatically from one company to another or from one industry to another. One thing is working for a law firm where you need to be well dressed every day and working hours can usually be 50-80 hours, while it’s a very different story if you’re working for a "dotcom", where dress code is very casual, many people work remotely and those who go to the office can enjoy perks like games and sleeping pods. 

But what happens when you’re not switching company but moving to a different country? now that’s a whole new challenge.

Below you will find different office cultures:

Great Britain: UK has a relaxed culture, whereas relationships often switch between friendship and colleagues. Some foreigners may see it as unprofessional, but it’s normal at a humorous environment, where personal conversations happen frequently. Brits are a bit more relaxed for appointments than Americans, it's OK to be somewhat late. It’s a very consultative culture where meetings are the common place to criticize, discuss and challenge other opinions, however all in a friendly environment as employees are encouraged to participate actively in decision making.

China: If you’re traveling to China, don’t expect too much feedback from your boss. They tend to communicate through “middlemen” and when they tell you what to do, they don’t expect you to ask anything as it would be taken as questioning their authority. Contrary to the US, where you ask everything to make sure you understand, in China you should ask as least as possible. If you are the boss, instructions should be given in a very polite way and if you have feedback, it should be given indirectly and at the right moment as it could be taken as something negative. 

Sweden: PUNCTUALITY, that’s the first thing you have to learn. People arrive 10 minutes early to every meeting. Meetings will take long as everybody is heard. You might find a few people that don’t do as much as the rest, but it’s because in Sweden companies don’t fire their employees that often, so there’s no “threat”. But overall it’s a calm environment, very harmonic. 

Spain: Before going to the office for the first day, make sure to go shopping to look fashionable and smart. Spaniards are known to be well-dressed professionals. Although they have fame of being lazy, don’t believe what others say and if you have a meeting, be there on time as your counterpart will most likely be there on time. Keep in mind there’s a siesta time (nap time), which means they take a 2 hour lunch break. Professional offices usually open from 10 to 2, then from 4 to 7. 

Whether it’s for a permanent relocation or a business trip, before traveling make sure to read some business etiquette tips to avoid any embarrassing moments or even losing a deal. 

Have you suffered from office culture differences? Share your stories with us!

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